- First impressions count, so ensure your website looks professional
- Use social proofs and list high profile customers, but monitor the latter in case of bad publicity
- Make sure all your copy is well written, aligned to your customer base and error free
- Trust and security marks do make a difference
- Fix all functionality problems
There are many ways to improve the credibility of your website and, therefore, win the trust of your visitors.
Here’s a handy checklist of the very least you should consider doing.
First impressions count
Let’s start with design. Why? Simply, because first impressions count.
Think about it, if you go into a physical store there will be a lot of factors that will encourage you to buy beyond the price of the goods. The branding, layout, décor, appearance, demeanour, and knowledge of the staff, etc., all add up to helping you decide to spend your money. They all help draw us in to the store—and if we don’t like what we see, we leave.
But, it can be a lot harder for ecommerce websites because you’ve only got milliseconds to convince your visitors that they’ve come to the right place.
Social proof can convince
Social proofs—testimonials, short form case studies, reviews, recommendations by real people—are very important. So, don’t bury them way below the fold on your webpages.
We follow the lead of others because we trust we’ll get what we’re looking for. It’s a herd mentality, but not in a derogatory sense, because we’ve assigned credibility to those brands ourselves too.
The other Nielsen (the market and consumer research firm) says, “The most credible advertising comes straight from the people we know and trust. More than eight-in-10 global respondents (83 per cent) say they completely or somewhat trust the recommendations of friends and family. But trust isn’t confined only to those in our inner circle. In fact, two-thirds (66 per cent) say they trust consumer opinions posted online—the third-most-trusted format.”
And, you needn’t worry too much about not getting all five star reviews; the chances are that you’ll have at least one disgruntled customer who will vent their spleen, the result of which will provide balance to all of the delighted people who sing your praises.
If you have well-known customers, then show your client list. And, don’t be shy of showing off an impressive number of customers. If you have reputable partners, links with academic and other organisations, then it’s worthwhile showing those too.
But, be aware that social proofs can backfire! Celebrity bashing by the press may affect your business too.
Prove what you’re saying is true
Substantiate any claims—reference happy customers, data from your suppliers, etc., all of which can be supportive in this sense.
And, why not use credible sounding numbers instead of rounding them up and using terms like “it’s twice as effective” and so on. Be specific.
And, how do you show people that you actually exist? So make your “about us” webpage informative, with photos and descriptions of your key people. And, include a photo of your premises. On your contact page, provide full address details and a specific service email—ours is firstname.lastname@example.org, for example.
What about trust seals/badges?
Use seals and badges that are appropriate to your business.
“Do trust badges on websites work? Oh yes! 32 per cent increase in conversions”, says Paras Chopra, Founder and CEO of Wingify, the inventors of Visual Website Optimiser.
And, secure payments are a must, particularly if you’re not so well known and new visitors will expect you to display secure purchasing.
State your returns policy
As for returns; if you buy something from a physical store, then you expect to be able to take things back and get a refund if they’re not fit for purpose, etc.
So, state your policy clearly and tell your customers precisely what it is and how they should use it. Without one, why should anyone trust you? Another thing that packs a punch is stating your 100 per cent money back guarantee.
Mind your language
Poorly constructed sentences, bad grammar, spelling mistakes, style inconsistencies, the wrong products on the wrong page, etc., can affect your credibility and earnings.
These blunders are often unintentional and genuine mistakes. So pay attention to detail. Then there’s your copy itself. So, get inside the heads of your customers; talk to them. Get a real understanding of the language they use and describe your products and services in terms they understand without having to learn a whole new vocabulary.
If it’s broken, fix it
You checked that everything works on your website, right? There aren’t any broken links and the website, and all of its pages, loads speedily and it works across all browsers and platforms? And your forms are a breeze to complete. You’re on top of it all and you haven’t any functionality/usability friction points. These articles should help you with some of the fundamentals: “Does ‘the fold’ matter?”, “Heuristic analysis: What’s wrong with this picture?”, and “What do your customers see that you don’t?”
Now, what remains for you to do?
My advice is that you take stock of where you’re at with the credibility of your website. Look at what credibility boosting features you already use and those you’re thinking of adding.
Don’t overdo it otherwise your visitors will think you’re trying too hard and you’ll make them suspicious. The idea is to confirm that you have a credible business and reassure your website visitors that they can trust you.
And, then test everything to ensure you’re achieving your credibility goals.